"...the hoity-toity moral-equivalentism of certain Respected Pundits"
At CJR, Todd Gitlin limns the hoity-toity moral-equivalentism of certain Respected Pundits. These R.P.s have three basic ways of being annoying.
First, they pretend that that the depraved tone of the Republican campaign and the moderately critical tone of the Democratic campaign are on the same moral plane. Thus, Dan Balz tells George Stephanopoulos that “there is a huge double standard going on, that Senator Obama can get away with attacking in the most negative and often personal ways and gets at most a slap on the wrist.” To believe this, you have to believe that it’s just as bad for an Obama ad to accuse McCain of being erratic as for a McCain ad to accuse Obama of consorting with terrorists.
Second, if a fact doesn’t fit the “both sides are equally at fault” tenet of the Church of Centrism, that fact is elided or simply not noticed. Gitlin quotes Tom Brokaw (in his role as host of “Meet the Press”) as approvingly quoting David Broder, from the October 8th Washington Post:John McCain and Barack Obama have been asked twice—once in the Mississippi debate and again on Tuesday night—what their priorities would be. McCain flat-out refused to choose, arguing that the United States can do it all. Obama mentioned energy, health care and education but did not acknowledge that he might have to choose among them.…It was a stunning rejection of reality.
Actually, McCain accepted Brokaw’s priority list—health care, energy, and entitlement reform—and then said, “I think you can work on all three at once, Tom.” Obama named his own three priorities—energy, health care, and education—and ranked them in that order.
Third, the R.P.s, by spreading their disdain equally, imply that they, the R.P.s, are looking down from such an Olympian height that the lowly candidates are little dots so far, far below as to be indistinguishable.
Labels: 2008 election